Olch knew of Boyer deal, did not make it campaign fodder
November 18, 2009
Defeated mayoral candidate Brad Olch said in an interview a source shortly before Election Day told him City Hall was negotiating an agreement with The Boyer Company to create a Quinn’s Junction development partnership, a deal that city officials closely guarded until after the election.
But Olch, whose bid to unseat Mayor Dana Williams intensified in the final weeks of the campaign, said he did not broach the issue even as he sharply criticized the incumbent on other points.
Olch said in an interview after the partnership was announced he had been told of the deal by someone involved with development at Quinn’s Junction, but not necessarily someone from The Boyer Company.
He said voters might not have responded well to him had he challenged Williams on the deal with The Boyer Company since it had not been made public by then. Olch also said his campaign team had already designed the final advertisements that were scheduled to be published during the final days.
"To make an accusation that the city’s negotiating behind closed doors, blah, blah, blah, people would laugh at me," said Olch. who served three terms as mayor immediately preceding the Williams administration.
The development prospects of Quinn’s Junction were not an underlying campaign issue, and regular Parkites have not closely followed private-sector projects at the S.R. 248-U.S. 40 interchange east of Prospector.
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But Park City officials have long been deeply concerned that landowners could build major developments at Quinn’s Junction, sending more traffic onto S.R. 248 and putting buildings in places that are now undeveloped.
The Park City Council last Thursday unanimously agreed to the $5.5 million deal with The Boyer Company that gives City Hall a 50 percent stake in 200 acres of land at Quinn’s Junction. The partnership plans to pursue a development on some of the land, and it is expected that a large bloc of work force housing will be put there as well as market-priced units.
The agreement includes an option that calls for City Hall to purchase the remaining 50 percent stake if a development plan is not agreed upon within two years.
Another round of talks between City Hall and The Boyer Company is scheduled on Thursday, with Williams and the City Council slated to discuss a document that will govern the partnership, known as a ‘co-tenancy agreement.’ The meeting is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. at the Marsac Building. The elected officials plan to take public input.
There was a small amount of testimony last week as the $5.5 million deal was approved, with one person saying the partnership would be beneficial to Park City and another questioning the price.
Williams did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment about the agreement.
Joe Kernan, a City Councilman who voted in favor of the agreement, said in an interview he heard "third-party" criticism of the deal on Monday. Kernan contends the timing of the agreement just after Election Day was not politically motivated.
"I think it was very fast negotiations based on the openness of Boyer . . . The only one that had an impact on timing was Boyer," Kernan said.
If the deal had been finalized during the campaign, it would have been announced at that time, Kernan said. He argued that negotiations like those with The Boyer Company are best done in private to ensure other prospective buyers do not drive up the price. State law allows government bodies to hold closed-door meetings to discuss property deals.
Kernan called the agreement a "very complicated deal, very complicated." Regular Parkites, he said, do not understand the "reasons that was an important purchase."